When you have a bad dream and wake up sweating, confused, in that state of unconsciousness and the real. Rubbing sleep from your eyes hoping that action eradicates the bad memories of what you experienced while under.
You pick up your phone desperate to find anything to wipe away the cloud of what bothered you. You check social media, the news, old photos. Anything to take away the bitter taste.
I had a bad dream last night. I woke up at stupid o’clock and couldn’t get back to sleep. I spent a while browsing various things on my phone and came across some random notes I made while on my LEJOG walk. Figured I would post them here. I think they were going to form some sort of “end of trek” report but I didn’t finish. Rather than see them just disappear in the ether I’ve edited them slightly and decided to post them. Some sort of line being drawn and the ending to the journey I took.
LEJOG represents a shit time in my life. A means to battle anxiety, depression & stress. To focus on something else. I’ve questioned why I’m doing this a few times and thought of quitting. This walk has taken up nearly 10 months of my life. From initial idea, to planning, organising, mapping routes, logistics to the actual doing. I love walking but I need a break. I want a normal life. I need to adjust to being amongst people. Coming back from the last walk I did, I got off the train in London and got on the tube shaking. That anxiety of being among people.
I need to reconnect, see my friends and family. I’m moving to Bristol but the time I have with them will be good. And there’s always FaceTime and Skype. I want to spend some time with my girlfriend, do normal things together and develop what might be there without stupid plans or work getting in the way for a bit.
Rain sucks but I’m getting used to it. I now smile when it starts, I laugh in its face. The two days walking in the heat has been worse. So much so I pray for rain. Forecasters can’t predict the weather.
I used to have problems talking to strangers, starting conversations, sharing. Now it seems so easy. I’m interested in the small talk that leads to full blown conversations about anything and everything. Looking for strands to keep the conversation going.
I’ve enjoyed the independence and being on my own for long periods but mentally its been tough. I have struggled over time but got used to it. I like being on my own but now find myself enjoying being with people a lot more. I appreciate the silence but also the inane chatter that comes with social situations.
The physical aspects of the walk have not been a problem. I can walk for hours but I fear I have a glass ankle. If I don’t break it before I’m done I’ll be surprised and lucky. I may need physio when i’m finished.
There have been areas of my comfort zone I struggled with at first. A line I’ve sometimes had problems crossing. The weather being a big factor and the wild camping in built up areas. Managed it eventually. Just takes time to step out and get on with it.
The best laid plans….are sometimes not the best. I did a load of planning and recce work but on the ground I find where I thought I might wild camp I can’t. Fields are full of crops, there is no clean drinkable water around, no flat ground, water logged pitches. I really wanted to wild camp but sometimes it hasn’t been possible. The further north I get, and into hills & mountains, the easier it gets.
Winging it has become the norm. Things I might have arranged have been cancelled in favour of keeping moving. The unpredictable nature of things has kept me on my toes and made things more interesting.
Litter. Not much in hills but the amount of times I’ve been walking along paths or roads and come across Mcdonalds, KFC, Costa or Starbucks cups and cartons is disgraceful. Hill and mountain folk appreciate nature and the need to protect it but there are idiots who just don’t have a clue.
My navigation & map work has improved. I haven’t used the compass much, trusting the map and what I see. At times I put the map away and just check it every now and again to make sure I’m on the right track.
Like waking from a weird dream it was strange reading all this back and remembering the times sat in my tent or on the side of a hill and just tapping away on my phone or writing in my journal. Thoughts that made no sense to anyone but me. Things were simple and uncomplicated. Its also interesting to see the seeds of doubt being planted throughout. I was already talking myself out of finishing
Its strange but I kinda miss it. Miss having the freedom to please myself. Not having to worry about anything other than where I was stopping and what I was eating. I have plans for next year so its back to some sort of routine, earn some money to fund it all and sweeter dreams.